Labour market assessment of vocational training and employment pathways for adolescent girls

Kabul, Afghanistan
Apply by 27 March 2018
Senior-level , Short-term contract assignment
Posted on 13 March 2018

Job Description


AKF Afghanistan is the lead agency in a consortium of six NGO partners (CARE International, Save the Children, CRS, Aga Khan Education Services and Afghan Education Production Organisation) working in 16 provinces of Afghanistan to STAGES II (Steps Towards Afghan Girls’ Education Success), funded by UKAid’s Girls’ Education Challenge (GEC). This is the second four-year phase of a successful project which started in 2013. The consortium is managed by a Kabul-based Project Management Unit (PMU), which is responsible for coordinating project implementation, management of financial resources, monitoring and evaluation, reporting and relationships with the fund manager and the Afghan Ministry of Education. Key activities undertaken by the project include implementing Community Based Education (CBE) and teacher professional development for CBE and government school teachers, interventions to improve the learning conditions and environment in government schools, training and mobilization of communities to support girls’ education and strengthening the capacity of government authorities to support girls’ education and CBE.

In the second phase of our project, STAGES will focus specifically on supporting marginalized adolescent girls in remote, rural areas to transition through various educational and occupational pathways. This includes identifying vocational training opportunities which are locally relevant, and realistically link to employment opportunities which are locally available, safe and sufficiently paid.


STAGES is seeking a consultancy firm to conduct a mapping of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) providers, local employers and higher education opportunities linked to vocational pathways suitable for adolescent girls in our programme areas. The assessment should set out a number of viable training and career pathways for girl beneficiaries across the project’s coverage areas, considering their differing economic, social and geographical characteristics.

Key questions to ascertain viability will include:

  1. What types of training and occupations are adolescent girls interested in?
  2. What are caregivers’ beliefs around types of training and occupations which are useful, relevant and acceptable for adolescent girls?
  3. What is the labour market situation currently for girls in programme areas?
  4. What vocational training providers exist in or close to programme areas?
  5. Are the training and working conditions safe for women and under-18s?
  6. How sustainable are the vocational training opportunities offered?
  7. What kind of support or resources are available to help girls attend vocational training opportunities?
  8. Are market linkages available alongside production-related training?
  9. What savings or financial literacy facilities exist to support girls’ economic empowerment?

The resulting assessment will be used to strategically link girl beneficiaries with vocational training opportunities close to where they live and in line with career pathways which are challenging, interesting and realistic for them to follow.

Main Duties and Responsibilities

Research will take place in sampled communities where STAGES is working with secondary government schools and lower secondary CBE classes in Badakhshan, Baghlan, Balkh, Bamyan, Daykundi, Kabul, Kandahar, Faryab, Kunduz, Paktiya, Parwan, Herat, Ghor, Kapisa, Khost and Ghazni provinces. The research will include desk reviews of existing labour market assessments, as well as individual or focus group interviews with:

  1. Adolescent girls and their caregivers
  2. Relevant governmental departments including the Ministries of Education, Women’s Affairs, Higher Education, Public Health, and Labour, Social Affairs, Martyrs and the Disabled
  3. Non-governmental institutions and service providers including business and NGOs
  4. Project staff

Additionally, methodology should include observational visits to relevant worksites to assess safety for women and under-18s.

Please note that female beneficiaries must be interviewed by female surveyors.

  1. Sampling framework and list of communities where field research will be conducted.
  2. Fieldwork schedule
  3. Research instruments in English, Dari and Pashto, piloted and finalized
  4. Inception report describing processes above
  5. Finalized report in soft copy. This will include at least the following sections: an executive summary, a review of existing labour market assessment research in Afghanistan, a description of research methodology, results including a Child Protection and Safeguarding analysis for each pathway, and conclusions and recommendations.
  6. All data in electronic format in Excel and SPSS, Stata or other software package as agreed with the STAGES PMU.
  7. A two-page brief in PDF format and presentation in PPT format on research findings, provided to the PMU in soft copy.
Qualifications Required
  1. Demonstrated experience planning and implementing labour market research in Afghanistan including data collection, input, analysis and reporting.
  2. Experience with qualitative research methodologies including individual and focus group interviews.
  3. Male and female surveyors who are available to work in the provinces listed above and who can speak the local language.
  4. Ability to apply international best practices to ensure data quality and manage risk.

Bidders will provide CVs for all those proposed in the Research Team, clearly stating their roles and responsibilities for this research. The proposed research person/team should include the technical expertise and practical experience required to deliver the scope of work, in particular:

  • Evaluation design: design and plan the research approaches as well as appropriate tools
  • Relevant subject matter knowledge and experience: knowledge and experience required (market development, TVET, gender) to ensure that the evaluation design and research methods are as relevant and meaningful as possible given the aims and objectives of the project and the context in which it is being delivered;
  • Country experience: it is particularly important that the team has the appropriate country knowledge/experience and language proficiency required to conduct the research required. Surveyors should come from the provinces and districts sampled for the research and speak the local languages.
  • Information management: design and manage data and information systems

Bidders should provide evidence of previous project experience for the provision of similar research services and the design and implementation of similar evaluation activities required by this ToR.

Ethical protocols

The assessment approach must consider the safety of participants and especially children at all stages of the evaluation. The research team will need to demonstrate how they have considered the protection of children through the different stages, including recruitment and training of research staff, data collection and data analysis and report writing.

Reporting line

The consultant/s will report to the STAGES PMU Manager in Kabul.

Work location

Work will be conducted in Kabul and in the sampled districts of the provinces where STAGES works: Badakhshan, Baghlan, Balkh, Bamyan, Daykundi, Kabul, Kandahar, Faryab, Kunduz, Paktiya, Parwan, Herat, Ghor, Kapisa, Khost and Ghazni.


To be proposed by the bidder, including total number of payable days. The assignment should begin by the 15th of April 2018 and conclude by the 15 of July 2018.


Payment will be on a milestone basis:

Milestone 1 (20% of total payment)

  • Sampling framework and list of communities where field research will be conducted.
  • Fieldwork schedule
  • Research instruments in English, Dari and Pashto, piloted and finalised
  • Inception report submitted

Milestone 2 (40% of total payment)

  • Field research conducted and finalized
  • First draft of report submitted to PMU in soft copy for review. This will include at least the following sections: an executive summary, a review of existing labour market assessment research in Afghanistan, a description of research methodology, results and conclusions and recommendations.

Milestone 3 (40% of total payment)

  • Finalized report in soft copy, incorporating PMU and partner feedback.
  • All data in electronic format in Excel and SPSS, Stata or other software package as agreed with the STAGES PMU.
  • A two-page brief in PDF format and presentation in PPT format on research findings, provided to the PMU in soft copy.
Bidding process:

Interested suppliers should submit the following information to by 27th March 2018

  • A description of organizational capacity, including evidence of previous project experience for the provision of similar services and the design and implementation of similar activities required by this ToR.
  • CVs of the research team members and statements of availability.
  • Three references for similar work;
  • Two page summary outlining the approach to be followed in designing and conducting the research;
  • Risk management, quality assurance and research ethics plans (not more than a total of five pages for all sections);
  • Budget which includes all costs, including daily rates and number of days of team members, research and materials costs, travel and accommodation costs and any other costs associated with provision of the services described in this terms of reference;
  • All bids should apply the following formatting:

1) For files submitted electronically, the company name and type of document should be clearly described on the filename (for example, CompanyZ_Budget).

2) All files should have a header or footer which includes page numbers, organization name and document name.

Evaluation Criteria

Bids will be evaluated based on the following criteria:



Capacity to plan and implement the research and fulfil requirements as described in this document based on previous experience and references


Experience and expertise of project team


Approach to planning and implementing the assessment, including risk management, quality assurance and ethics plan, and proposed research methodology




The STAGES PMU will organize a panel to review proposals, which will be ranked according to their technical scores. Only qualified technical proposals will be considered for review of financial bids. The agency scoring the highest aggregate technical and financial scores will be selected and called for discussion.

Additional significant information Risk management plan

It is important that the successful bidder has taken all reasonable measures to mitigate any potential risk to the delivery of the required outputs for this evaluation. Therefore, bidders should submit a comprehensive risk management plan covering:

  • The assumptions underpinning the successful completion of the proposals submitted and the anticipated challenges that might be faced;
  • Estimates of the level of risk for each risk identified;
  • proposed contingency plans that the bidder will put in place to mitigate against any occurrence of each of the identified risk;
  • Health and safety issues that may require significant duty of care precautions.
Quality assurance plan:
  • Bidders are required to submit a quality assurance plan that sets out the systems and processes for quality assuring the evaluation and research process and deliverables from start to finish of the baseline report. This plan should include the proposed approaches to:
  • Piloting of all research activities;
  • Training of surveyors and researchers conducting the primary research;
  • Logistical and management planning;
  • Field work protocols and data verification including back-checking and quality control by supervisors; and
  • Data cleaning and editing before any analysis.
Research ethics plan:

Bidders are required to set out their approach to ensuring complete compliance with international good practice with regards to research ethics and protocols particularly with regards to safeguarding children, vulnerable groups (including people with disabilities) and those in fragile and conflict affected states. Consideration should be given to the items listed below. Note that this is not an exhaustive list and therefore, potential contractors should consider additional aspects of ethics. Bidders are also required to include a copy of their ethics policy as part of the package of supporting documents:

  • administrative, technical and physical safeguards to protect the confidentiality of those participating in research;
  • physical safeguards for those conducting research;
  • data protection and secure maintenance procedures for personal information;
  • parental consent concerning data collection from minors (participants under 18) or collation of data about minors;
  • age- and ability-appropriate assent processes based on reasonable assumptions about comprehension for the ages of minors and minors with disabilities they intend to involve in the research; and
  • Age-appropriate participation of minors, including in the development of data collection tools.

Individuals or research institutions meeting the above requirements are requested to submit a technical and cost proposal to no later than March 27, 2018 or submit hard copy to AKF, National Programme Office District: 10 Phase: A, Madina Bazar, beside Share Naw Wedding Hall. Opposite Q-Ball (Snooker Club) next to Pizza Hot shop (Black Gate) Qalai Fatullah Kabul, Afghanistan.

Important Notes:

Please quote the Vacancy Number as the Subject of the e-mail when sending your application.

Supporting documents, e.g. diplomas, recommendation letters, identification card(s) etc., are not required at this stage, therefore not to be sent along with the application.

Only short listed candidates will be contacted for further assessment.

Aga Khan Foundation – Afghanistan is an equal opportunities employer. Women are encouraged to apply.

Aga Khan Foundation – Afghanistan recruitment and selection procedures reflect our commitment to the safeguarding of children from abuse.

About the Organization

The Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) is a non-denominational international development agency established in 1967 by His Highness the Aga Khan. Its mission is to develop and promote creative solutions to problems that impede social development, primarily in Asia and East Africa. Created as a private, non-profit foundation under Swiss law, it has branches and independent affiliates in 19 countries.

The Aga Khan Foundation, Afghanistan (AKF (Afg)) is an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), a group of international, private, non-denominational development agencies working to improve living conditions and opportunities for people in some of the poorest parts of the developing world. The Network’s organizations have individual mandates that range from the fields of health and education to architecture, rural development and promotion of private-sector enterprise and institutions that seek to empower communities and individuals, usually in disadvantaged circumstances, to improve living conditions and opportunities.

More information

JA Consultant Labour Market assesment.pdf

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